Was there a suffragette sympathiser living in Feidrfair in 1911? I have been compiling a list of names of people associated with Cardigan for some time (20,000+ and counting) and I have now reached the 1911 census. Under the entry for Palmyra, in St Mary’s Terrace (or Feidrfair), a house which still stands today, is the following:
Mary Catherine Jones, Servant, single, 32 years old, born in Caernarfon, Bilingual
She has written across the left side of the form: ‘mistress from home’.
At the same time (well, that evening) I happened to be reading a book I had borrowed from the mobile library: Diane Atkinson, Rise Up, Women! Bloomsbury, 2018. On page 249–50
The Women’s Freedom League and the Women’s Social and Political Union urged their members to refuse to supply their personal details to the Census Enumerators on the evening of 2 April 1911. Some forms were left empty, some women wrote in the column entitled ‘disabilities’ the word ‘unenfranchised’. Women were advised to spend the evening away from home to frustrate the Census. (Householders were obliged by law to complete the Census form, and made themselves liable to a fine of £5 or a month in prison if they refused.) Wealthy suffragettes opened their homes to Census resisters, and sympathetic heads of colleges filled their buildings with women who did not want to be at home. Some adventurous women hired gipsy caravans and spent the night out.
And again on page 307:
Mrs Winefrede ‘Win’ Rix evaded the 1911 Census with her husband’s support|: when he completed the form he gave only his details, omitting any reference to his wife, his daughter and their female servants.
Was the head of household at Palmyra, Feidrfair, a suffragette sympathiser or had she just gone away for a short break? Since her name is not given in the census it is not immediately clear who she was.
As it happens I have a copy of the Annual Report for Bethania Baptist Chapel for 1912 which lists members’ contributions and also those who passed away during the year.
Mynegiad Eglwys Bethania am y flwyddyn, 1912 Marwolaethau yn y flwyddyn 1912:
July 13 Margaret Jones, Palmyra 64 oed
Was she a local suffragette?
If there is someone out there who is familiar with suffragette history in Cardiganshire in the early 20th cent. please get in touch.